Page 179 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 46

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LUR IE /OUR LIBRARY OF LOST BOOKS
17 1
in which it was written that Hillel was descended from David,
R. Hiyya the Elder from Shephatiah, the son o f Abital, the house
o f Kalba Shabua from Caleb, the house o f Tsitsit Hakeset from
Abner, the house o f Kobshin from Ahab, the house o f Yatsat
from Sepphoris, the house o f Jannai from Eli, R. Jose ben R.
Halafta from Jonadab the son o f Rechab, and R. Nehemiah from
Nehemiah the Tirshathite.”
(Bereshit Rabbah, 98:8)
These fragments, which were found in the ruins o f Jerusalem,
were remnants o f national archives. The archives had their or­
igin in the words o f the Torah which places the Temple worship
exclusively in the hands o f the sons o f Aaron: “And you [Aaron]
and your sons under your charge shall be careful to preform
your priestly duties . . . any outsider who encroaches shall be
put to death” (Num. 18:7). Josephus therefore writes: “Our
forefathers made provision that the stock o f the priests should
continue unmixed and pure . . . We have the names o f our
high priests set down in our records for two thousand years,
each according to his ancestral house
(Against Apion
1:7).
In the fragment o f R. Levi’s scroll only one person is o f priest­
ly descent. All the rest are members o f the elite, but they are
not priests. It appears that after the expulsion o f the foreign
wives by Ezra people were meticulous about the purity o f family
stock and genealogy and would record family events. An in­
dication o f this was preserved in the aggadic passage about the
three cities in Galilee — Kabul, Shihim and Magdala — whose
census was so heavy that it had to be carried to Jerusalem in
a wagon.8 Even i f we allow for some hyperbole, we can assume
that in the generations prior to the destruction it was customary
to send to Jerusalem information about family events — mar­
riages, births, divorces, etc. In Jerusalem there existed an ar­
chives — a veritable treasurehouse o f data on the people in
Judea, which went up in flames together with the Temple. Pil­
grims who searched among the ruins o f Jerusalem found a few
fragments, and these we have quoted above.
8
. Jer. Ta lm ud
Ta'anit
4:8; Lamentations Rabbah 11:2.